New Bills Would Bring Independent Practice to APRNs in Mississippi

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Tuesday, January 12, 2021

New bills filed in Mississippi for the current session would reduce practice restrictions for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Senator Kevin Blackwell is the primary sponsor for both Senate Bill 2007 (SB 2007) and Senate Bill 2008 (SB 2008), both of which have initially been assigned to the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare for further deliberation. You can read the complete text of SB 2007 here and SB 2008 here.
SB 2007 is the more ambitious bill; it would provide a route to independent practice for APRNs. Currently, APRNs in Mississippi require written practice guidelines with a collaborating physician to practice. SB 2007 would allow APRNs (except for certified registered nurse anesthetists) who have practiced for 3,600 hours in a “transition to practice” collaboration with a physician to be exempt from needing to maintain the formal written collaborative relationship. APRNs who are exempt from this requirement are still required to “collaborate” with other health care providers, but this only means seeking consultation with, working with or referring to other health care professionals based on the needs of the patient.
The national trend has been moving towards allowing APRNs to practice as independent health care providers without the direct supervision of physicians. Frequently, states will require the APRN to practice under supervision for a certain number of hours before being granted independence. In that regard, SB 2007 is right in line with that trend, and, if passed, it would allow Mississippi APRNs to become independent health care providers in their own right.
SB 2008 is the more limited of the two bills. It would permit the APRN to dispense legend drugs to patients, provided they have the prescriptive authority for the drug. This bill would not change any other aspects of APRN prescribing; they would still need to maintain a collaborative agreement with a physician who authorizes the scope of their prescriptive authority. What SB 2008 would do is fix an apparent oversight in the current practices. As it stands, the statute allows APRNs to “prescribe” and “administer” legend drugs and controlled substances. Dispensing would simply allow the APRN to prescribe a patient a drug and then provide them with a supply of the medication directly.